Give me playoff hockey anytime, all the time! The rest: the pre-season and much of the regular season can be a long, sometimes boring warm up to the real thing...
January 5, 2009
Give me playoff hockey anytime, all the time! The rest: the pre-season and much of the regular season can be a long, sometimes boring warm up to the real thing. Elimination, Game 7, do or die and hoisting the Stanley Cup: the playoffs seem to bring out the best in the pros. Intensity, hard hitting, fast paced excitement that beats any other sport on the planet.. eh!
As many of us are in the middle of making New Years resolutions, its good to remind ourselves that successful work teams have a lot in common with those on the ice and clear expectation setting should play a key role in both.
As a self professed occasional procrastinator, I know that it’s just fact that many of us need something on the line for our best to come out.
Whether you are an Owner Operator delivering the expectations of your customers to their doorstep or you are a CEO driving your company’s strategy path forward in the marketplace: Clearly setting expectations with those around you is absolutely critical to your success. If you want to hoist your Stanley Cup in 2009, then read on…
There is a subtle but key difference between a resolution like the one you may have recently made and expectations. Resolutions are something we generally decide on by ourselves (drink less coffee, have more beer, stop smoking, this is the year I WILL organize myself!) . Expectations set that same way (in isolation or by assumption) are dangerous and can so easily waste away time, motivation and profit. Ideally expectations are set in a shared environment, between two or more people.
Sharing Expectations has a couple key benefits:
1)They can be clearly understood
2)It creates accountability (I.e. there is something on the line)
Many of you have already sat down with your boss to hash out the expectations they will have of you in 2009. It is a great time to set yourself and your boss or employee up for success by having a two way dialogue. If you can best ensure that the expectations are clearly understood by all and that they are realistic (I.e while not a cakewalk, you have a good chance of meeting them.) you are well past halfway to success. So often though these discussions are one way and result in failures to meet goals.
Why? It’s amazing how many times people, with best intentions, leave a room absolutely convinced they agree on something (its an obvious assumption) when in fact they are about to head in two opposite directions. Its so easy to do.
A recent speaking engagement in Fredericton, New Brunswick reinforced that point to me loud and clear. I was in a local hotel preparing for a business seminar I was giving that day. I picked up a copy of the local paper and was browsing through it while waiting for my class to arrive. On the way to the sports section, a headline caught my eye. It read “Local Vet honored for his service”.
While I didn’t immediately stop to read the article, it caught my attention. With everything in the news today centered around our brave men and women in uniform, I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that “Local Vet” stood for Local Veteran. I would have bet the house on it. So, still having some time after having read up on the scores and sports hi-lites, I returned to the article anticipating to read the story of a local war veteran honored for his or her service to Canada. I ended up laughing pretty hard at myself when I discovered that this wasn’t a story about a war veteran at all, but a local veterinarian who saved the lives of many local cats, dogs and cows.
That sort of misunderstanding happens in our companies and homes on a daily basis and ends up in a ton of regret work by both parties. When one person walks out of a room thinking War Veteran and the other Veterinarian, the results are parallel to delivering a load from Toronto to Montreal through Calgary.
Spare yourself the ‘ruff’ times. So much time can be saved and frustration avoided if only expectation setting (I.e your 2009 performance contract) was a two way process at the very beginning with each party expressing their understanding of the expectations in their own words and working out any misunderstandings at the beginning instead of half way down the road. The process is called reflection whereby, as obvious as it may seem, both parties vocalize their understanding of a project, expectations etc.
If you don’t have those type of discussions, I’d encourage you to start.
Expectations are ironically the Stanley Cup that most of us need to be motivated in our workplace. Done right they will help you create a team that will go deep into the playoffs.
Here’s to your success in 2009.
David Benjatschek is a professional business speaker/trainer, motivating audiences across North America. His 15 year career in Oil & Gas primarily focused on the transportation sector. Also an accredited photographer, David is the driving force behind wowtrucks.com and the Wowtrucks® Calendar: Canada's Big Rig Calendar. All posts by David Benjatschek